Despite the global economic downturn’s negative impact on travel tourism around the world, Jamaica is seeing significant growth in both its long-stay and cruise tourism.
The country’s Minister of Tourism Dr Wykeham McNeill recently revealed that Jamaica achieved record stopover arrivals for the month of September 2012, making it the best performance for stopover visitors for the month of September in Jamaica’s history, with an increase of almost 6% over September 2011.
Director of Tourism John Lynch has also said that between January 1 and September 29 of this year, based on preliminary figures Jamaica welcomed close a total of 1, 418, 104 visitors graced our shores, an increase of nearly 3% over the same period in 2011.
Minister McNeill also disclosed that Jamaica’s cruise arrival figures had been very encouraging so far this year, noting that the latest figures indicated that for the period January to August 2012, total cruise arrivals increased by 33.9 % with 937,343 visitors compared to the 700,137 visitors recorded for the same period last year.
In breaking down performance by port for the January to August period, McNeill said cruise arrivals for Falmouth rose by 62.6% with 412, 812 visitors compared to the 253,940 recorded for the same period last year, arrivals for Montego Bay increased by 48.7 % with 248,224 visitors compared to the 166,956 cruise visitors for the same period in 2011, while cruise arrivals for Ocho Rios declined by 0.9 % as there were 275, 968 visitors compared to the 278,573 visitors recorded over the same period last year, when a number of ships shifted calls to Falmouth.
Minister McNeill attributed this growth in part to the publicity boost that Jamaica would have received as a result of the way in which its athletes had excelled at the Summer Olympics.
“Destination Jamaica still has much appeal and with the recent extensive exposure the London Olympics provided, a fresh spark has been lit across the globe, renewing the curiosity towards and appeal of our people. We are therefore encouraging a new focus on introducing attractions that showcase the culture and heritage of Jamaica,” he said.
Minister McNeill has described Jamaica’s prospects as “robust” despite the worldwide recession and he expressed pleasure that the sector continued to grow despite the harsh economic conditions.